Weekend preview: Moulson debuts, Canucks crashing and Rangers-Wings on NBC

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A quick look ahead at some of the narratives at play this weekend…

Moulson debuts

Matt Moulson will play his first game for Minnesota on Saturday when the Wild take on the Stars in Dallas.

The former Sabres sniper — acquired at Wednesday’s trade deadline — is a three-time 30-goal scorer that should provide a huge boost for the goal-starved Wild. Minnesota only has 153 goals this year (24th in the NHL) with just two players, Jason Pominville and Zach Parise, in the 20-plus category. Moulson’s 17 instantly puts him third on the team.

Based on practices, it looks as though Moulson will debut on Minnesota’s second line alongside Charlie Coyle and captain Mikko Koivu. Wild head coach Mike Yeo was excited about the versatility Moulson brought to the lineup, noting he added depth among the top two lines.

“I liked the look of them before we went out on the ice and I liked the look of them after we came off the ice, too,” Yeo told the Star-Tribune. “I thought there was real good energy in our practice today. Obviously guys are excited.

“We felt really good about our team and where we were at going into this trade deadline and we feel that we’re a strong team now, we’re a deeper team. So we’re excited to put it to work now.”

Minnesota’s other new additions — Cody McCormick and Ilya Bryzgalov — are also likely to be in the mix on Saturday. McCormick has a shot to draw in on the Wild’s fourth line, while Bryzgalov will serve as Darcy Kuemper’s backup.

Canucks crashing

Vancouver is 1-8-1 in its last 10 and, on Thursday, was smashed 6-1 by Dallas — a team the Canucks are chasing for the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference. To the observer, it looked as though Vancouver players had all but quit on beleaguered head coach John Tortorella; the flop came shortly after a listless 1-0 loss in Phoenix and the contentious Roberto Luongo trade.

Vancouver will look to try and get back on track Saturday when it takes on Calgary at Rogers Arena. This, of course, will be the first time the two taems met since Tortorella tried to attack Flames head coach Bob Hartley on Jan. 18, an incident that netted Torts a lengthy suspension.


The Rangers and Red Wings will meet for the third and final time this season on Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET, NBC). If the first two games were any indication, Sunday’s affair should be tight — the Rangers won the first meeting in OT (3-2) and the second was an old-fashioned goalie duel as the Blueshirts beat Detroit 1-0 on the strength of Henrik Lundqvist’s 38-save shutout.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.